TESTING ORAL PRODUCTION Presented by: Negin Maddah
Speaking ability can be tested in two ways: indirectly and directly.
Indirect Measures Indirect measures are quasi-realistic activities and are only appropriate with subjects who have a limited proficiency. Some of the most common indirect measures of speaking ability are :
1.Using Pictures Pictures eliminate the need for reading or listening.They should be quite familiar to the testee and represent familiar ideas. Pictures can be used in 3 ways: 1.The examinee is given a four-picture card and is asked to describe the one corresponding to the number the examiner calls.
2. A picture sequence is given to the examinee and he is asked to tell a story that the pictures seem to convey. 3.The examinee is provided with a picture depicting several objects and/or activities. He is then asked to describe what he sees in the picture.
2.Making Transformations The examinee transforms what he is given according to some specific instruction. 3.Following Commands The examinee should perform a command he hears.
4.Retelling The examinee is asked to retell a story, an anecdote, an announcement, etc. that he has just heard or read. 5.Explanation Examinees are asked to explained objects, actions, activities, etc.
6.Short Talks Examinees are asked to talk about a particular topic for a certain period of time. 7.Role playing If the examiner has to test a group of examinees at the same time, he can assign them roles to act in a certain play or story told by the examiner himself.
Direct Measures Activities that attempt to duplicate as closely as possible the setting and the operation of real-life situations. OPI(Oral Proficiency Interview):It is the most valid direct type of speaking test. It essentially involves one interviewee and (preferably) two or three interviewers. One conducts the interview while the other listens and occasionally takes notes.
How to conduct the OPI The oral proficiency interview is conducted in four notional phases as follows: a) Warm-up: The tester puts the examinee at ease, leads him into communicating in the language, and makes a preliminary assessment of his language skills. b) Level-check: The tester finds the level at which the examinee can function comfortably by asking the test taker to explain his views of some topic of current interest, or on some subject, book or film, and be provoked into a defence of those views of the examiner`s expression of a contrary position.
c ) Probes: The tester uses questions and language at a higher proficiency level, and finds the level at which the examinee can no longer function adequately. At this stage the limits of the test taker`s abilities are ascertained through challenging difficult items. d ) Wind-up: The tester terminates the interview session by turning to the level of language use at which the examinee can communicate comfortably. By so doing, the test taker is allowed to relax with some easier questions that set the mind at ease.
Assessment Ideally, the interview is recorded for later assessment. Since recording is not always feasible, evaluation can be accomplished at the conclusion of the interview. It is necessary that the examiners work with a predetermined evaluation criterion. Depending on the purpose and the defined criteria of a test, scoring may be done holistically or discretely.
Among aspects of speaking that might be considered in the assessment scale are grammar, pronunciation, fluency, content, organization and vocabulary. The band descriptions for a general scale might be as follows. The number indicates the level, and it is followed by a description of the characteristics of a speaker at that level.
7.Spoken communication is fluent, appropriate, and grammatically correct, with few if any errors. 6.Communication is generally fluent and grammatically correct with only occasional errors in grammar or pronunciation. 5.Student produces numerous grammatical errors and hesitations, but these do not interfere greatly with communication. Utterances are long and connected. 4.Student produces numerous grammatical errors and hesitations, and these occasionally interfere with communication. Utterances are short and connected.
3.Student`s communication is limited to short utterances and depends in part on previously memorized conversational elements. Many hesitations and grammatical errors. Communication is only possible with sympathetic interlocutor. 2. Communication limited to short utterances, almost entirely memorized conversational elements. Unable to deal with unpredictable elements. 1. No communication possible.
Oral interview: face-valid, fairly reliable, practical, high degree of inter- and intra-rater reliability. But 1.It is time-consuming and expensive to administer. 2.Creates nervousness in examinees. 3.Requires trained examiners. 4.Cannot provide fine discriminations of proficiency among examinees.
Guidelines for Conducting and Scoring Interview 1.Each interview should be carefully structured. Interviews should be natural and realistic to the extent possible; yet it is not desirable to conduct them spontaneously. 2.To obtain dependable results, it is necessary to utilize of at least to raters. 3.At the beginning of the interview, the candidate should be put at ease by being asked simple questions. The test aspect should be minimized. 4.The length of each interview depends on the interviewee. Usually between 10 to 30 minutes, but even 5 minutes can suffice at times.
5. The decision to use a global or specific scoring system should be based on the purpose of the test. 6.Each interview should be recorded to be scored later. 7. Scoring can be done holistically that is simple and quick or on the basis of detailed operational statements that is complicated and slow but it is more reliable.